Library staff protest over plan to cut jobs
UNION officials have hit out at plans that could see around 40 library staff lose their jobs in county council cutbacks.
Around 77 library staff have already been issued with letters telling them that their jobs are at risk.
The job losses, which could hit staff working in a number of libraries, are part of a package of measures aimed at saving the county council £580,000 in its budget for communities.
A protest over the proposed cuts was staged by staff outside Maidstone’s County Hall last week.
Staff affected say library users will get a poorer service if their jobs go, while vital community schemes, such as reading clubs will end.
Council chiefs have denied the job cuts will lead to a poorer service and say they are willing to listen to alternatives before pushing ahead.
But David Lloyd, Unison branch secretary representing Kent County Council staff, said: “The services that these librarians provide go beyond what is done in libraries.
“They perform vital work out in the community. It is misleading to say they are not on the frontline.”
The threatened job losses are demoralising for staff who are concerned they might represent “the thin end of the wedge,” he added.
Cllr Mike Hill (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for communities, insisted the library service would not be affected. “By the time we have worked through the efficiency measures across the directorate as a whole, we will not have a poorer service.”
He had offered to meet personally with union representatives for face to face talks and KCC is willing to listen to alternatives, he added.
The county council says around 190 jobs could be lost across different departments as a result of an across-the-board £30million cost-cutting package.